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Best design ever—a grateful heart

At Swatch’s Thanksgiving-at-Christmas party, happiness is clearly a choice
05:14 PM December 10, 2018

Believe it, happiness is a choice.

In the case of Swatch’s  Thanksgiving-at-Christmas party, happiness isn’t only a choice; it is also a design, in this case, by Gino Gonzales. And—happiness is by design, meaning you can design your happiness.


Slim’s students in the window display and facade of Swatch: top floor (from left) Peachy Gregorio, F Garcia, Dinnes Obusan, Moon Lei, Damaris Chua, Marilen Manulit, Myka Dominado, Angelique Co, Jomar Saldo; ground floor, standing (from left) Vanessa Pinlac, Banjo Cordero, Isobel Feliz, Claire Francisco, Caress Carranza, Courtney Liongson, Agie Stockell, Jochebed Bawalan, Megan Lev, Jane Miranda; seated (from left) Abdul Dianalan, Marigrace Joyce, Erika Jimenez, Abby Capio, Ivy Reyes

For the dinner party last November 22, hosted by Virgie Ramos—the out-of-the-box thinker of retail—the Swatch display window lit up in fun, wacky and brilliant colors, and a phalanx of images.

Motorists would slow down to glance at the eye-grabbing display of the Swatch building on Arnaiz Avenue, Makati.


It was thanksgiving but it also heralded the start of the Christmas season—the Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world, keep in mind.

Gino Gonzales amid the “Laro” setting he designed

Gonzales designed the display, turning the Slims Fashion and Arts School students’ exhibit into a Christmas installation —a “Swatch Interactive Billboard” where people can have their photos taken.

The heads of the mannequins are different Swatch watches—a really playful, witty touch.

It’s a happy theme—“Laro,” conjuring the Filipino games of sipa, jolens, saranggola, or the foreign games—Pacman, robots, pinball machine.

Fun fashion, pop design

In this happy setting, the friends of Swatch gathered for a thanksgiving dinner on the ground floor of the building, where chandeliers in pop colors hung above the tables set with iridescent accessories. It was fun fashion, pop design all rolled into one.

National Book Store founder Socorro Ramos

Sanrio Co. president for USA & Asia Yuko Tsuji

Annie Sarthou, Jojo Ocampo, Rowell Santiago, Louie Ocampo and Jojie Dingcong

Noel dela Merced, Susan Joven, Mia Borromeo, Dr. Ana Buenaventura and Ginggay dela Merced

Tessa Prieto Valdes

But such a happy backdrop was really only a setting for the happy assembly.


Happiness, come to think of it, is a choice born out of a grateful heart. That night, we asked some guests what they were thankful for.

Art collector and businesswoman Sandy Tan-Uy gave a ready answer: “Thankful that the back of my seat in the van reclines, so I may take a nap in Edsa, and make the daily traffic ordeal more bearable.”

Ramos cousins Gia, Sheila, Pat and Xandra

Ambeth Ocampo and Xandra Ramos-Padilla

Sheila Ramos was spot on—”Thankful for my tribe!”

Historian Ambeth Ocampo turned to his personal history: “I am grateful for my father’s long life and the opportunity to show him, at 94, that his wayward son amounted to something.”

One couldn’t get more genuine than that.

Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli

Matteo Guidicelli, Virgie Ramos and Derek Ramsay

Scarlet Snow wearing Psychedelic (follow her @scarletsnowbelo on Instagram)

Matteo Guidicelli, who was looking so happy with his girlfriend, Sarah Geronimo, said, “I am extremely thankful for the unconditional love and support of my family. They fuel me with inspiration and remind me about the passions I have deep inside me. Without them, I am nothing.” Music to any mother’s ears.

In that most creatively designed space that was Swatch that night, we felt the best design ever—the grateful hearts of friends coming together. —THELMA S. SAN JUAN

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TAGS: socorro family, Swatch, swatch party, swatch slims design
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